East Lulworth

A  Registered One-Place Study and part of the Dorset OPC Network

Literary Works - 1830

Published in:

The Olio, or Museum of Entertainment - Vol. VI July 1830 - January 1831

Arrival of the King of France at Lulworth Castle

Author: J F Pennie

The scenery around the noble chateau or palace of Lulworth, in Dorsetshire, is highly beautiful and romantic. It is embowered in the most luxuriant groves and woods, through the openings of which, ancient British hill-cities, lifting their everlasting bulwarks and ramparts to the clouds, with the deep blue ocean, speckled with distant sails, outstretched in all its undulating sublimity, hanging groves and richly waving corn-fields, form many a charming point d’appui, on which the eye rests with satisfaction and pleasure. The delightful scenery of this place was yesterday animated and interesting. Carriages and vehicles of all descriptions were continually dashing and rattling through the streets of the little retired village of Lulworth, and gay groups of all degrees, with cavalcades of well-mounted horsemen, were sprinkled over the fine lawns which surround the castle, and moving to and fro between the towering groves, all waiting in anxious expectation to witness the arrival of the exiled monarch, and forming a picture which could not but recall recollections of by-gone days, extremely exciting to the reflecting mind.

This castle has been often visited by royalty, and before we describe the arrival of his ex-majesty of France, we shall copy from the “Tale of a Modern Genius,” a few passages descriptive of former periods:-

“In this castle, constituted a palace by the residence of kings, fifteen years after its erection, dwelt James I. when he came to hunt in the adjacent royal chase or forest of Purbeck; and here Charles II., after his restoration, with the Duke of York, afterwards James II., and the Duke of Monmouth, paid visitation to an ancestor of the present family in 1665. The rooms in which these monarchs and princes slept still bear their names, and they were looked upon by me as far the most interesting apartments which the palace contains.

“How often have those woods of ancient oak and beech echoed to the joy of the inspiring horn, as it sounded from the court-yard of the castle at early dawn, and roused the royal Scot from his slumbers to pursue the fleet stag on the lofty hills and wild heaths of the neighbouring island. How have these leafy bowers reverberated the shrill neighing of eager coursers, the scream of falcons, the whoop and shout and laugh of jocund hunters, as the king, with a train of nobles and courtiers, descended those steps to mount their fiery steeds, and scour across the healthy plains of the forest! In the happy days of the gay Charles, how rung those halls to the voice of sportive jollity and gladness. The banquet, minstrelsy, and dance and song, enlivened the rosy-winged hours beneath these lofty roofs, and spoke the noble liberality of the generous and honoured host of the palace. What loud huzzas burst from the delighted populace that filled the court, and thronged around the gates from distant parts of the country, ascending in thunder above the highest battlements of Lulworth, as the smiling monarch mounted these flower-strewed steps, and entered the halls of feasting and hospitality. The cottages of the neighbouring peasants were hung with garlands, and on yonder village green the may-pole was dressed in nodding sheaves of fragrant blossoms; here vigour, youth, and beauty mingled in the joyous dance to the sprightly sound of the viol and the pipe; shouts of ‘Long live the King!’ broke from every tongue; the pealing bells in yonder venerable tower ushered in the twilight with their music; the hearts of the glad peasantry were cheered with flaggons of ale; sports and manly exercises were exhibited by the rustic youths on the lawns; the voices of happy groups rang in the moonlight groves; and all was gaiety, laughter and joy. Nearly the same rejoicings as in the days of Charles, the same splendid entertainments, though of much shorter duration, took place when our beloved and venerable sovereign, George III., visited this pleasant seat, and more than once partook of its owner’s magnificent hospitality.”

The scene of yesterday forcibly brought to our recollection these somewhat similar occurrences of the past; but how different were the English feelings of those who surrounded the towers of that castle yesterday, with the enthusiasm of those who once witnessed and hailed with heart-lifted shouts the arrival of our native princes. The fullness of excitement and interest to behold the exiled lineage of Hugh Capet, were no doubt as strongly brought into action as on former arrivals of royalty, for the late noble revolution in France has cast around those, who were some of the chief actors in that tremendous and glorious struggle which has been made for liberty, an irresistible charm of attraction.

At length, about six o’clock, the cortege, which, with the royal family, had been landed at Poole, arrived in front of the grand terrace. The royal arms had been defaced from the carriages, and the whole had evidently the appearance of a hasty flight from a field of battle.

The King was seated in an open carriage with the Dauphin and the young Duc de Bordeaux, a fine interesting boy. On the King’s alighting from the carriage, he was met by Mr. Wild [Weld], the owner of the castle, and then ascended those steps, followed by the Dauphin and the young prince, which other kings had mounted before him, amid repeated shouts of welcome, deep and loud as those which echoed in thunder around the magnificent pillars of the Capitol, when Claudius Caesar ascended on his knees its hundred steps, after his victorious return from the conquest of Britain. But no shouts arose from English lips for Charles; his reception was respectful silence. The populace stood as he ascended uncovered, an honour which the courtesy of English hearts could not refuse to royalty in exile, however merited his expatriation might be. He took off his hat, but appeared, as he gave a hasty glance at the people, to be dissatisfied with the coldness of his reception, but, considering his situation, far from being unhappy. He certainly did not look to have seen those years which are said to have passed over his head.* How long will he remain at the palace of Lulworth, we do not know, but it certainly is a place well suited to an exiled monarch. Noble is the pile, and lovelily situated in its leafy solitudes. Here the degraded King may contemplate in retirement on the vicissitudes of all earthly grandeur and power; on the unstable foundation of thrones and empires; here he may devote his hours to the exercise of his religion, publicly or privately, there being two chapels for the catholic worship, one within and the other without the walls of the castle; here, on its extensive domains, he may enjoy the sports of the field, in fine weather, and in wet he may kill flies, like Domitian and the great  Marlborough in his later days, or plot counter-revolutions and form schemes of absolute power, to destroy the chartered freedom of his country, and deluge her afresh with the blood of his people.

Romantic Lulworth! though the ancient sports and pastimes of thy peasantry in the days of Charles II, are all forgotten, though the flowers of summer no longer enwreathe thy tall May-pole, which once stood on thy village green, though the viol and tabor are heard no more in the moonlight groves, yet still there was yesterday much joy and light-hearted mirth around thy village ale-house. There, over his glass, with a long pipe, Joe Barnes, the miller, poured forth the very soul of prosing on French politics. Edmund Rawles, the cobbler, was convinced Charles would be King again of France in less than nine months, and hoped he should get an interview with his majesty, and before long be made first shoe-botcherto his royal kingship in Paris. Barnard Slade, the little fat punchy tailor trusted he should now get all the French fashions before any man in England. Joe offin (an ominous name) lifted his little piggish eyes, glistening with delight, as he puffed forth a long train of smoke, and broke a longer silence, exclaiming, “Oddaboblikins! What a mort o’bread these here mounseers will eat!” - “Ay,” replied farmer Parmiter, “and game too, I hope: I wish they may clear the estate of all the birds and hares on it. They have nearly ruined me.” Then they all presently agreed that the new revolution in France was a “fine thin,” a glorius “turn over,” since they were likely to reap a harvest from it, as the king had brought with him “chests filled with money.” Thus the fall of a king, and the change of an ancient royal line, was to them of no further moment than the advantages which each man could make of it in his own way.

England! since the days of noble Athelstan, thou hast been a refuge to greatness in distress – a home to the royal exile – a shelter from the storms of revolution, the revengeful horrors of rebellion. When Charles the Simple, King of France, was dethroned and cast into prison, his queen fled hither with her young son Louis, where they received the kind protection of Athelstan, who, in 936, exerted himself so warmly in his interest, that he was restored to the throne of his fathers. Haco the Good, prince of Norway, remained at the Anglo-Saxon court from a boy till he was called to the throne of his father Harold, his subjects having, like the French of our day, dethroned his brother Eric, a cruel and fierce sea-king, surnamed “the Axe of Blood;” who, also, after his disposition, fled to this kingdom for refuge, where Athelstan did more for him than we imagine William IV. intends doing for Charles of France, for he gave him the kingdom of Northumberland. Alan, prince of Bretagne, in the same reign, was educated as an exile in the English court, and afterwards restored it to his ducal dominions by the generous-minded Athelstan.

There is no fear that Charles of France, should remain in this kingdom, will share the cruel fate of poor Theodore, King of orsica, who, throughthe intrigues of the French court, died miserably, to the disgrace of the age, in the King’s Bench prison. Charles possesses in his retreat a princely fortune, and, if he is wise, he will give up the wild dreamings of ambition, and enjoy that fortune in happiness and content, amid the quiet and beautiful shades of Lulworth.